The Latest: Nadal beats Mmoh in straight sets in Melbourne
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest from the Australian Open (all times local):
Rafael Nadal shrugged off some heckling from a spectator before beating American qualifier Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of the Australian Open.
Nadal was serving for the second set at 5-4 when a woman yelled out and made hand gestures as he prepared to serve. She yelled again at 30-0 and stadium security escorted her out of Rod Laver Arena. The rest of the crowd started booing and Nadal laughed.
He went back to work after the brief delay and hit two aces to finish off the set.
The 20-time major champion completed the match against the 177th-ranked Mmoh in 1 hour, 47 minutes and said it was a “positive evening for me.”
Except for one thing. He was asked if he knew the woman who caused the delay. He responded by saying no and added “honestly I don’t want to know.”
More than 21,000 fans attended Melbourne Park on Day 4. The Australian Open is the first major in a year to allow sizeable crowds with the government allowing up to 50% capacity. No fans were allowed at the U.S. Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the number of spectators at the French Open was extremely limited.
Fabio Fognini and Salvatore Caruso clearly still hadn’t had enough of their all-Italian second-round duel at the Australian Open even after four hours and five sets.
A heated exchange started at the net after the 16th-seeded Fognini rallied from 5-1 down in the tiebreaker to win the first match between two Italian men at the Australian Open in the professional era. Fognini won 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (12).
The initial exchanged seemed to cool down as the players went back to their courtside chairs but restarted twice. A tournament official eventually intervened to break them up.
Fognini wasn’t in any mood to apologize at his post-match news conference. He said he wouldn’t discuss the exchange and that he and Caruso are good friends and will speak soon.
The 33-year-old Fognini and the 28-year-old Caruso have never played against each other at tour level but were practicing together last month.
Fognini says it’s tough “when you play against a guy from the same country.”
Fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina beat 16-year-old Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the Australian Open.
Svitolina has reached the quarterfinals in Australia twice and showed her experience as she took on Gauff for the first time. She made the most of her only break-point chance in the second set to take a 5-3 lead and then served it out.
Svitolina will play No. 26-seeded Yulia Putintseva in the third round.
Gauff was the youngest player in the women’s draw. She was unable to repeat her performances from her breakout major in Melbourne last year. She reached the round of 16 at the 2020 Australian Open with wins over Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin.
Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas has been pushed all the way in a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4 win over No. 267-ranked Australian wild-card entry Thanasi Kokkinakis in a second-round match that delayed the night program on Rod Laver Arena.
Tsitsipas has a big following within Melbourne’s large Greek community but he he was playing an Aussie for the first time at the Australian Open and had to contend with having a share support in the crowd.
Tsitsipas will next play Mikael Ymer, who beat 17-year-old Spanish qualifier Carlos Alcaraz in the second round.
Kokkinakis didn’t play at all in 2020 because of illness and injuries and this is his first major tournament since the 2019 U.S. Open. His first-round win over over Kwon soon-woo was his first in the Australian Open main draw since 2015.
Mackenzie McDonald, who won NCAA tennis titles at UCLA, eliminated No. 22-seeded Borna Coric 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open’s third round for the first time.
McDonald is ranked 192nd after missing more than six months because of hamstring surgery and is the lowest-ranked player Coric has lost to in a tour-level match.
McDonald, a 25-year-old American, now will try to equal his best Grand Slam result by getting to the fourth round, which he did at Wimbledon three years ago.
He won college championships in singles and doubles in 2016.
Coric was a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Open. He had a trainer massage his right shoulder and upper back after the second set.
Defending champion Sofia Kenin is out of the Australian Open in the second round after a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Kaia Kanepi.
After her first-round win, Kenin talked about how nervous she was as the defending champion at a major for the first time.
Against Kanepi, she looked it. She was near tears during a changeover toward the end of the match.
The 65th-ranked Kanepi was hardly an underdog: she had beaten Kenin in their only previous match and is a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist. The Australian Open is the only Slam where Kanepi has not reached the quarterfinals.
The fourth-seeded Kenin only had 10 winners in the match, while committing 22 unforced errors.
Top-seeded Ash Barty dropped a few more points in her second-round match at the Australian Open than her first — but the result was still the same.
Barty followed up her 6-0, 6-0 drubbing of Danka Kovinic in the first round with a much tighter 6-1, 7-6 (7) win over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova.
After dropping just 10 points against Kovinic, Barty was far less consistent against Gavrilova, racking up 34 unforced errors.
Barty’s serve was a particular problem: she was broken four times, including when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.
“When you play another Aussie, the rankings go out the window, experience goes out the window,” she said. “It’s always going to be a tricky match no matter what.”
The 2019 French Open champion had her upper left thigh heavily taped during the match, though she played it down after the match with a laugh. “This isn’t very subtle, is it? I can’t really hide it,” Barty said, adding it was not a big issue. “I’m fit as a fiddle, I’m ready to go.”
Former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advances to the third round at the Australian Open by beating American Danielle Collins, a semifinalist at Melbourne Park in 2019, 7-5, 6-2.
Pliskova, seeded sixth, lost serve twice in a seesaw first set but pulled it out and then pulled away. She finished with seven aces.
Pliskova has won 65 matches in Grand Slams but is still seeking her first major title. She was runner-up to Angelique Kerber at the 2016 U.S. Open.
American Shelby Rogers advances to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time by beating qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-2, 6-3.
Rogers hit seven aces and lost only three points on her first serve.
She came into the tournament with a career record of 1-4 in Melbourne, but at age 28 her fortunes have been on the rise. She reached the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open for the first time last September, and her year-end ranking was a career-best No. 58.
Day 4 at Melbourne Park features the No. 1 women’s player in the world and the 2020 singles champion in temperatures which are expected to be the hottest of the first week.
Top-ranked Ash Barty plays fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova and fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin plays Kaia Kanepi in afternoon matches as the second round of singles play concludes. Kenin won her first Grand Slam singles title last year with a three-set victory over Garbiñe Muguruza at Melbourne Park.
The weather forecast is for mostly sunny skies and a high temperature of 33 degrees Celsius, or 91 degrees Fahrenheit.
American 16-year-old Coco Gauff takes on fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, in the opening night match at Rod Laver Arena.
Another American, Michael Mmoh, will have an even tougher task, playing No. 2 Rafael Nadal. The Spanish lefthander is looking to win a men’s-record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
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